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Creutz: Word of mouth more important than scores

Publishers should spend more time developing, less time pressuring journalists, says analyst

The Cowen Group's Doug Creutz has released conclusions drawn from the company's latest research into what motivates consumers to purchase games, with review scores apparently having the least impact.

With the cost of development on the current generation of platforms higher than ever, coupled with a difficult macro-economic situation, the pressure is on publishers to try and ensure product success - something which has led to some companies using strong tactics, usually involving the threat of cancelling advertising spend, if scores aren't quite what they'd hoped for.

But Creutz believes this is largely a waste of time, and it would be better for businesses to spend that time on polishing the product, reports Gamasutra.

In all, of eight different factors contributing to purchasing decisions, the Cowen Group analyst indicated that a game's genre was the most important, followed by a positive experience from a previous game in the franchise.

Third on the list was price, while word-of-mouth was fourth and advertising fifth - publisher reputation and Metacritic scores fell way behind.

"We believe that while Metacritic scores may be correlated to game quality and word of mouth, and thus somewhat predictive of title performance, they are unlikely in and of themselves to drive or undermine the success of a game," he explained.

"We note this, in part, because of persistent rumours that some game developers have been jawboning game reviewers into giving their games higher critical review scores.

"We believe the publishers are better served by spending their time on the development process than by 'grade-grubbing' after the fact."

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